PREGNANT women and new mothers who smoke will be banned from doing so on the grounds of the country's three main maternity hospitals.
The zero tolerance rule will mean the women will either have to stop lighting up, or leave the hospital grounds completely if they want a cigarette.
Several acute hospitals around the country have already banned smoking on campus and the HSE aims to have the rule imposed nationwide by 2015. The latest ban, to come into force on November 1, will apply to the Rotunda, Coombe and National Maternity Hospitals in Dublin.
But there is some concern that pregnant women who are adamant they need a smoke will have to go some distance to do so. A HSE spokeswoman said: "If a patient or member of staff decides to leave the campus grounds to smoke, they do so at their own risk.
"The best place for our patients to receive healthcare is in the healthcare facility itself. If a patient leaves, it will be against the advice of staff as the patient may be at risk or absent for aspects of their care."
Meanwhile, the HSE, which is responsible for Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown in Dublin, which has been smoke-free since May 2009, said it was committed to this policy.